My Life as a Phone Psychic, the novel, written in NYC 2012, based on the play of the same name written in Minneapolis in 2004. Part Two, Chapter Six.
Celebration. David walks into the party late. He wanted to pick up some flowers or- something- for Lily- before meeting everyone at the Bungalow Club near where both he and Lily live- but he couldn’t figure out what would be right. Would they be too friendly? Too romantic? Too revealing to the cast?
Tonight, it’s not just David, Lily, Jones and Phil; it’s also the executives from the production company, from the network, the crew, and, Van.
The executives think they have a hit show and they smell money. David is excited.
He smiles as he enters and Van waves. He runs up to him and gives him a bro hug.
“Bro!” Van slaps him on the back. They smile at each other. Lily is sitting in between Jones and Van.
“We were beginning to wonder what happened to you,” she says softly.
“That’s hardly a psychic thing to say,” Phil pitches in.
David laughs. He feels very good. Very, very good.
A waitress walks by with a platter of champagne.
David shakes his head, “no.” He doesn’t want to drink. Not tonight. He smiles at Lily. She nods.
Albinioni: Adagio in G Minor
A sedan slumbers along the Pacific Coast Highway, headed south. The driver rolls down his window and feels the wind against his hand. He smiles. He is in no hurry. He thinks of the stars and the moon above, how God made them, and how God made man to have dominion over the earth and he smiles and thanks God in his heart for this glorious earth and this glorious responsibility to be a steward for Jesus.
Now he has arrived in Malibu, and now he drives into Santa Monica, and now Venice. He drives onto a side street and ignores the parking directions, parking in a “No Parking Zone” right at the ocean. There are no people on the beach that he can see. He is aware that the police sweep the punks and the homeless and the hippies and the skaters and the bohemians from the beach after sunset. He gets out of the car anyway. He has parked near a bar. Venice Ale House. There is a homeless man in a skirt standing outside, alone, watching the driver. The bar is full of people who seem to take no notice of the homeless transvestite who reeks of his own urine and carries the faint smell of booze, a few hours old.
The homeless man smiles, curtsies.
“What’s your name?” the driver asks.
“Calinda, dear sir,” answers the transvestite.
“Calinda? Isn’t that a woman’s name?”
Calinda looks offended.
“Of course,” he answers.
“So where do you sleep?” the driver asks.
“Are you tired, sir?” Calinda asks. The driver smiles in wonder.
“Are you worried for me?” the driver asks.
“No,” Calinda says, “I never worry.”
“That’s how you ended up on the street,” the driver says.
“Perhaps so,” says the transvestite. She smoothes her hair back and smiles. “But if you need help, I can help you, despite my appearance and my odor.”
The driver nods.
He turns and walks back to his car.
“Sir?” Calinda asks after him.
No room at the Inn
A few hours later, most of the crew is leaving, and the executives are long gone. The party dwindles down to Lily, Jones, Van and David.
“Time for me to go,” he says, “Although I have had a lot of fun and I look forward to collecting my money tomorrow night!”
Lily laughs as he kisses her cheek. He turns to Jones, shakes his hand. Turns to David. Spreads his arms out for a hug.
“Well,” Lily says. “It’s time for me to go, too.”
“Do you need a ride?” Van asks, but Jones and David are both rising.
“No,” Lily announces. “I’ll walk.”
“Is that okay?” David asks.
“Yeah,” Lily says, and she means it. And out the door she goes.
The speechless full moon comes out now…
Lily is walking home. She lives in the middle of one of the most populous cities in the world. She lives in a city people dream to come to, fight to the death for. There is no one out as she walks home at midnight, not once she has left the lights of Melrose Avenue and the cars and the valets and the girls in silky dresses and cigarettes. No one but for a few cats lurking underneath the cars. Their eyes blaze out at her from beneath the bodies of the massive hulking robots humans drive around, from one worry to the next, one moment to the next, one hope to the next, one disappointment to the next.
I don’t want to live that way… and while I am definitely different from most everyone I’ve ever met, I don’t live
What is this wild hair, life? Why are we here? What secrets are breathed in the wind and why do the Sufis say,
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
I have been asleep and I have been awake, I have been both simultaneously all my life, and yet as far as the men in white robes go, I am asleep, and I know it, but I do not know what it means to be awake, or what to do with what gifts I do have, or how to live, let alone how not to die, how to stop what I know is coming and yet knowingly I can create and recreate new, I do time and time again and then forget that I created and recreated and trip myself up, and that makes me the same as all other humans,
I am them and they are me.
And then there’s love…
I mean, of the romantic sort…
I want it, I do.
She pauses now to stroke a tree trunk in the lawn where she has paused.
The rest of it, I don’t know what I want or don’t want, and it’s not up to me anyway. I suppose it’s the same with romance. I must surrender to the whims and whimpers of the universe, I suppose, for there is my creation and my recreation and then there is the deeper root of all, that wild unfair seed of existence of life that says, it is not your ego, it is not your will, it is that and not that, so get back in your heart and out of your asshole and then enjoy falling in line and enjoy falling